Why IT Specialists Add More Value Than Generalists
My (much smarter than I) wife of 23 years is a nurse in Cardiovascular (CV) surgery. From a medical layman like myself, that by itself sounds like a particular specialty. When we talk about the cases she does and the surgeons she works with, I quickly realize that within CV, there are surgeons that are skilled and specialize at a deeper level - - valves, bypass, transplants, minimally invasive virus open procedures and the list goes on. If you were having a major procedure, wouldn't you find the best at that particular surgery?
In the same vein (CV pun intended...), the best providers of IT solutions (services, subscriptions to "aaS" and products) have identified their specific value in the market and stay true to their focus. Focus does not mean a particular vendor (as in "we sell Cisco") because that's not a value-driven business model. Focus means: a) identifying specific customer segments; b) it means having critical mass in geographies; and c) it means defining key technologies and solutions, and going deep in skills - - technical skills, project management skills, back-office skills, and sales skills.
Over the last 20+ years, I've worked for several IT solution provider companies, at different points in their life cycles. In every situation, the most value my companies were able to deliver were when we were focused in a select number of locations, with a tremendous amount of skill in sales, professional services and managed services, and we were true to our target customer and solution. Appropriate designs, expert resources, successful deployment on-time and on-budget. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Conversely, the "generalists," or the providers of large size and scale, are erroneously expected to have competency in all areas. What is gained in access to products and services is often lost in challenge of engagement, lack of relationship, and internal process challenges. I've witnessed this in person, "we have a guy in Seattle that knows XYZ and can help!" Then the process to get said person engaged, the solution scoped, the services scheduled is cumbersome.
Technologies evolve, but the focused model continues. It does so because it proves that experience and skill simply deliver better outcomes than the larger (or smaller) generalists. I'm thrilled to be helping a young, focused, nimble company, Pinnacle Technology Partners, and working to drive our business model to deliver value to our customers.
Most of us wouldn't expect great Italian cuisine from a fast-food burger joint. I recommend you view your IT solutions providers the same way.